Could you pass the test?

October 14, 2008
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What does the U.S. Constitution do? Why do some states have more representatives than others? Under the U.S. Constitution, what is one power of the federal government?

As a lawyer, you should be able to answer these questions pretty easily. But what if you were new to the U.S. and trying to become a citizen?

The government has created a new citizenship test, which has more of an emphasis on fundamental concepts of the U.S. democracy and the rights and responsibilities of citizens as opposed to more factual questions, such as ‘How many stars are on the U.S. flag?’

The idea of the redesign is to ensure naturalization applicants have a meaningful understanding of our government and history. From now on, those who apply have to take this new version of the test. You can see some of the questions on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Web site by clicking on the links at the bottom of the page.

Because the new test is concept based, it may be more challenging to those who aren’t proficient in English or who haven’t completed much education in their lives. But is that the new point of the test – to make it harder so that only those who have a firm grasp of English can pass and become citizens, or is it to make sure new citizens truly understand the concepts behind the U.S., not just the facts?

As Americans, I think we take for granted our freedoms afforded to us under our Constitution and forget about our country’s history and birth. Take a look at some of the new questions and see how many you can answer.
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  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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